Decision of the Intergovernmental Committee: 13.COM 10.b.3

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkey have nominated Heritage of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut, epic culture, folk tales and music (No. 01399) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

The epic culture, folk tales and music of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut are based on twelve heroic legends, stories and tales and thirteen traditional musical compositions shared and transmitted across the generations through oral expressions, performing arts, cultural codes and musical compositions. Dede Qorqud appears in each story as a legendary figure and wise individual, a sage of minstrels whose words, music and expressions of wisdom relate to traditions of birth, marriage and death. In the musical compositions, the main intonations are reproduced using a musical instrument called the Kobyz through the sounds of nature, and imitation soundscapes are characteristic of this medium (such as the imitation of a wolf’s howl or a swan’s note). The musical compositions are all interconnected by the epic stories that accompany them. The element encompasses social, cultural and moral values such as heroism, dialogue, physical and spiritual wellness and unity as well as respect for nature, and contains profound knowledge about the history and culture of Turkic-speaking communities. It is practised and sustained by the community concerned on a wide variety of occasions – from family events to national and international festivals – and is therefore well-rooted in society, serving as a connecting thread between generations.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

R.1:   The element conveys the history and common values of Turkic-speaking communities, thereby contributing to their sense of identity and belonging. It transmits important moral values and promotes positive role models, and its bearers are highly respected across society in all the nominating countries. Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut highlights the role of women in Turkic society, respect for older people and the importance of traditional knowledge. It is passed down orally, both formally and informally, and transmission within families plays a crucial role.

R.2:   Inscription of the element would enhance the visibility and importance of oral traditions as a strong tool for transferring the values of courage, mutual respect and tolerance to younger generations. It would stimulate exchanges and enhance intercultural cooperation among countries which identify themselves with the cross-border practice. Different interpretations of the same legends are a respected part of the element; if inscribed, the element would therefore serve as a source of inspiration for literature, visual arts, fashion design and other art forms.

R.3:   The element is thriving in all the submitting States and is constantly transmitted and promoted at different levels. The formulation of the safeguarding plan involved close cooperation between the communities of practitioners represented by relevant NGOs and state authorities. Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkey elected to propose a shared safeguarding plan, providing a coherent set of common safeguarding measures to be implemented jointly and at the national level. Each country has indicated responsibilities for accomplishing individual tasks and their governments will allocate funds for carrying out the safeguarding plan on an annual basis.

R.4:   The nomination was initiated by the communities and bearers during various discussions. The latter partook in the nomination process, cooperating closely with NGOs and national authorities during a series of working group meetings in each country. Relevant representative organizations and individuals provided their free, prior and informed consent.

R.5:   The element has been included in an inventory in Azerbaijan since 2016, in Kazakhstan since 2016 and in Turkey since 2017; these inventories are maintained and periodically updated in accordance with Articles 11 and 12 of the Convention. The States Parties have explained how the element was identified and defined with the community’s active participation and how the information contained in the inventory will be updated.

  1. Inscribes Heritage of Dede Qorqud/Korkyt Ata/Dede Korkut, epic culture, folk tales and music on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Takes note of the speed of the nomination process (six weeks) described in the file and encourages submitting States, for future nominations, to allow sufficient time for a deep and wide community participation in the process.